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The curse of the commentator

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Steve Wilson | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sunday's game between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge threw up one of those occasional moments a commentator absolutely dreads.

It was during the first half when Chelsea were awarded a free-kick outside the Liverpool penalty area. Didier Drogba stepped up to take it and his shot whistled a couple of inches past the post, hit the stanchion holding the net in place and then ricocheted to the left to glide along the back of the net from behind the goal.

For the commentators sitting high in the East Stand, it looked like it was nestling in the back of the net from inside the post. We were not alone. The majority of the Chelsea fans not sitting exactly in line with the free-kick were celebrating. It was a second or two before I realised it was not a goal.

Commentators are a pretty paranoid lot so at half-time I, along with some colleagues from TV channels all over the world, were asking each other who had called it as a goal and who had not. Pretty much everybody had made the same mistake, which made all of us feel a lot better.

"So what?" I hear you say.

Well, this takes me back to my last blog when I was describing that one of the things which seems to genuinely surprise some people is that the Match of the Day commentators actually report live on the game from the ground as events unfold in front of them.

One thing not in doubt was that Glen Johnson's strike did hit the back of the net. Photo: Reuters

Some people were not convinced, so allow me to revisit a couple of the replies to that blog:

"What clearly is not a myth is that the commentary heard on Match of the Day is recorded after the game and therefore is with the benefit of hindsight."


"So what if the BBC sends commentators to every game? They just do the interviews. The commentary is done afterwards - at the start of every single game the commentator name-checks some player who will score or get sent off, the same with when a sub comes on. None of them are particularly good at feigning surprise either."

But of course you can never win, someone else posted this:

"This article contains very little insight for anyone sad enough to care about what goes on behind the scenes at MOTD. And anyway, who actually thought the commentators didn't go to these games?"

Well, some people do take a lot of convincing; but just maybe my floundering to work out whether or not Drogba's free-kick was a goal or not (and then furiously talking myself out of the hole I had just dug myself into) will convince the conspiracy theorists that Match of the Day commentators are actually describing the action as it happens from the ground where it happens?

As the old footie song goes: "And now you're gonna believe us ..."

Then again, perhaps I was just double bluffing and actually deliberately made the mistake so it sounded as though the commentary was done at the time, rather than from the warmth of some luxurious studio long after the game finished?

I can dream.

Seriously, though, I do read the comments and appreciate (most of) them - good or bad!


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    We all believe you...
    To be fair, Chelsea were probably unlucky last nigh, Sturridge ran rings around Bayer's defense. Drogba's radar was just a little off.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Poor blog in all honesty. Lacks depth and useful information on a non-sensical issue. Jasdeep Raja

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not one to show off but I knew it didn't go in.
    You could tell by the way the net moved, or didn't move for that matter and the way the ball fell.

    I should be a commentator!

  • Comment number 5.

    The one that comes to mind was Andy Gray during Liverpool v Man Utd a few years ago with Liverpool one up and in injury time. Gray says something like "Liverpool have been defending these corners brilliantly all match...." 5-4-3-2-1...

    I'm sure he did it on purpose.

  • Comment number 6.

    #3 It's a BLOG - get over yourself! Sometimes they don't have to be extensive or all encompassing if they don't warrant it. I haven't even read the other blog Steve refers to, but I can still make sense of this one, and the point it is trying to make.

    The story is simply highlighting an example that justifies points raised in a previous article... so I'm not really sure what you're missing.

    And, ironically, I think you meant "nonsensical"

  • Comment number 7.

    Anyone who watches Drogba regularly should know that that hand in the mouth gesture is his symbol for "nearly".

    We all knew here that it wasn't a goal for that reson.

    Very surprised the commentators thought it was a goal when Drogba didn't even celebrate. Odd.

  • Comment number 8.

    p.s. I bet the stupendous, sizzling, sensational, sexy, Spanish footballs commentators have never made any mistakes whilst commentating during a la liga match!

  • Comment number 9.

    I've noticed with the live broadcast Championship matches that the commentary you hear is what you later hear during the highlights later on the TFLS. Goals compilations ie; league round ups etc; often used post commentary or summaries on the BBC.

  • Comment number 10.


    Behave yourself

    These commentators are over the hill trundlers that you would find in 'gala' bingo halls, next to 'Sweet dorothy'

  • Comment number 11.

    @8.At 07:54 24th Nov 2011, Zeemo wrote:

    "p.s. I bet the stupendous, sizzling, sensational, sexy, Spanish footballs commentators have never made any mistakes whilst commentating during a la liga match!"

    You are starting to sound a little bitter there.

  • Comment number 12.

    @5 dogeared

    Ah yes. The FA cup 3rd round tie of 1999 at OT.
    Utd scored again seconds later and won 2-1.

    Gray had been making comments all afternoon about fait and destiny and Liverpool were going through and name on the cup and all that.

    He was asking for it that day! Begging for an equaliser!

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    @11 big boy

    What is this? "Comedy Central"?

    I offer an insightful, objective and honest opinion on all things..........blah, blah, blah....!


    Has he left you mentally scared as well?

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi - I always believed the commentary was live. For those that said you could tell by Drogbas reaction or how the net moved - I think most commentators shout "GGOOAAL!" the moment they see it without doing analysis of player reactions or implementing net displacement theory

    What drives me nuts with commentators is they never seem to understand the impact of the away goal rule in CL games. If you lose your home match 0-1 and then go away and concede the first goal its not "game over" like some commentators say, you started the game needing 2 goals to win it, and 2 goals will still win it. Its really annoying when they talk like its a massive blow or the end of a teams chances.

  • Comment number 16.

    Why would the (ever cost-cutting) BBC send their best commentator to a high profile game just to interview? Give me a break people

  • Comment number 17.

    I remember there used to be a trend for post-match recorded commentary for Goal of the Month clips, back when not every game had a commentator at the ground. They always stood out a mile compared to the real thing, something about them sounded fake and voiceover-y.

    Match commentary is clearly recorded live - Saturday's MOTD proving that both with the Drogba not-goal and the Blackburn 'take the corner to myself' goal, with the latter showing that even the commentator's first reaction was "he's taken it quickly" not "he's passed it to himself, he can't do that!".

  • Comment number 18.

    Can't believe that anybody thought that the commentators were not there, I'll always remember that image of John Motson standing in heavy snow as he announced an FA Cup 2nd round tie was postponed sometime in the early 90s.

  • Comment number 19.

    Enjoyable insight again Steve. How about you pluck someone from the comments section on the blog each week, to experience first-hand a day in the life of a football commentator and let them feed back?

    I nominate myself to be the first... :-)

  • Comment number 20.

    There's a great sketch by American comedian Chri Rock, in which he berates people with careers moaning publicly about their 'career BS' to people with ordinairy jobs. This article is exactly the kind of thing he's talking about. In your 'About this blog' section at the top of the page you proudly announce to your readership "I’ll be travelling round the country commentating on the Premier League and the Football League" - presumably you don't do this for free and it's paid for by the license fee. If the day job isn't filling up your entire working week and you're feeling the need to occupy your free time broadcasting your woes to thousands on your BBC endorsed Blog page,can I suggest you try and find a worthier subject and write about that instead. Alternatively maybe you could go part time, take up some barwork to fill in the empty hours. Then one of the 10 million unemployed we have in Britain right now could take over your Blog?

  • Comment number 21.

    @ #7
    Drogba didnt help matters by making "the sign of the cross". Seeing him make that gesture kinda almost confirmed he scored. You may be among the few that thought otherwise, believe me, almost everyone thought it was a goal

  • Comment number 22.

    8. At 07:54 24th Nov 2011, Zeemo wrote:
    p.s. I bet the stupendous, sizzling, sensational, sexy, Spanish footballs commentators have never made any mistakes whilst commentating during a la liga match!

    Some of the Spanish commentary is just awful, some are quite good. I watched the Barcelona v Arsenal game in the Champions League last season and it was the worst commentary I had ever heard. They spent the whole game just chatting amongst themselves for the whole game under the assumption Barcelona were going to win. Barcelona scored from a Messi tap-in from 2cm it was the greatest goal in the history of football. When Arsenal scored they were lost for words as their agenda had the potential to go up in smoke. This was from RTVE, Spain's equivalent of the BBC and supposedly their flagship channel. Another channel La Sexta shows La Liga games and they are quite good as the don't take the football too seriously so when they make a mistake then make fun of each other rather so you can laugh with them and not at them.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 15,

    net dispalcement theory... still laughing to myself, genuinely halarious!!! as far as the away goals i can see your point, but from the commentators view point the team behind (requiring two away goals to win) would only need one to force extra time, a more conceivable outcome to the match then the team winning the match out right in the 90mins, especially considering they could not take advantage of home support, but i do still take your point.

    @ 19,

    brilliant idea pal... baggy second...

  • Comment number 24.

    Does the fact that on 'Final Score' on the red button, before the games kick off on a Saturday, commentators give out stats and team information on camera, from the gantry!? Ridiculous to even suggest they aren't there to commentate!

  • Comment number 25.

    YAWN an people who only go on these blogs to post negative comments. And yawn at the idiots who think the commentary is not live. Blimey, some people today... polluting the gene pool for the next generation.

    Thanks Steve, but you don't have to try and prove yourself for the slim minority. Most of us know its live, and most of us were laughing at you when Drogba 'scored' :)

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm always saying cut throat analytical things before the commentators do!! Unfortunately, there is as much chance of me being a commentator as there is of Niklas Bendtner getting a shot on target...sad times :(

  • Comment number 27.

    Pub standard comments. Almost spat out my sizzling sky sports chorizo. These pub standard commentators should open their chequebooks, and drink some sexy Spanish milk from their pub standard basset hounds.

    Anyone for patchuli bingo? PUB STANDARD!

    No one expects the pub standard inquisition.

    Anyway... it does always seem incredibly unlikely that the commentary is so focused on a player, or a free kick... and then incredibly it flies in. Or if the keeper is the focus, he pulls of an amazing save!

    I don't doubt that most of the commentary is done at the game. Might as well be there doing it as anywhere else, but some revisionist additions must be added later just to make sure. You never hear, "So Drogba is lining up another pointless effort. He hasn't even been close all game, and no doubt this one is heading for row Z. OH MY GOD IT FLEW IN!"

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't doubt that most of the commentary is done at the game. Might as well be there doing it as anywhere else, but some revisionist additions must be added later just to make sure. You never hear, "So Drogba is lining up another pointless effort. He hasn't even been close all game, and no doubt this one is heading for row Z. OH MY GOD IT FLEW IN!"


    You've always never watched "basset-hound" Fan Zone ;-)

    That said I had an amazing knack of predicting every Nani corner in his first 2 seasons. I'd say "this isn't going to clear the first man" and undoubtedly be proved right!

  • Comment number 29.

    I've always assumed the commentary was live but coincidentally this weekend made me think otherwise. Annoyingly, I can't remember which game it was in on Saturday but there was a piece of commentary that really made me think it was recorded post-game. It was something like "In the end it proved not to be enough." I remember thinking I hope Lineker makes some comment about it but it seems everybody else missed it.

  • Comment number 30.

    I thought this was quite interesting, I can see why people think the commentary is done afterwards. Imagine a commentator screaming that England have just scored in the winner in the last minute in the Euro 2012 final, and to realize it hit the side netting. Commentators do make mistakes quite often, I am not a fan of Clive Tyldesley but he seems to do it often.

  • Comment number 31.

    Pub standard comments. Almost spat out my sizzling sky sports chorizo. These pub standard commentators should open their chequebooks, and drink some sexy Spanish milk from their pub standard basset hounds.

    Anyone for patchuli bingo? PUB STANDARD!

    No one expects the pub standard inquisition


    Absolutely brilliant!! Does this mean that he's gone? I haven't seen anything from him in a while! Please god let that be true!!

    Anyway, nice blog Steve and good to see that you took the time to answer some posts. I'm not sure what makes people think that the commentators aren't there, especially if they watch FF and they go to them at the grounds a couple of hours before the game.

  • Comment number 32.

    I've never doubted that the commentary is live. What I do doubt is the ability of some of the commentators to convey the sense of excitement that should be there when you are commentating on live sport.

    I think there are very few commentators that I actually enjoy listening to, mainly cause some of them are so badly informed!

    Steve is a great commentator in my opinion. It may be luck that he has the right sounding voice but he says the right things as well.

    But, and I know he rambles a bit, Motty is still king of the commentators. His effortless style, his excitement for the game, his knowledge of relevant and, just as importantly, irrelevant facts just steal it for me.

    Is Steve the heir apparent though?

  • Comment number 33.

    @20 I always read these blogs but never commented but seriously how can you put a blog about the insight in commentators jobs to unemployment! Get real!

  • Comment number 34.

    That Drogba one was funny watching it on Sky TV. the pictures showed the ball whistle past the post, yet the commentators thought it was a goal and the producer homed in on the ball nestling behind the net. For a split second I thought that my 2D TV deceived me again and that it was a goal. It was a proper attack on the senses!

    It's very difficult to believe that all the MotD comms are real time though, not because of mistakes but because so many of them are so contrived. A good recent example is the Jonathon Pearce comm on the Nani goal against Spurs last season - there is no way that a commentator would genuinely call it like that in the split seconds of real time action unfolded - it was obvious that he'd seen various replays and had weaved a carefully constructed verdict into his appraisal. Now if you want to explain that by saying that the editor had stitched a few delayed replay voiceovers from later in the game and tried to tell the story that way then maybe that's right, but in that case it does no-one at MotD any favours in my opinion.

    fwiw the main problem commentators have is that they are trying to be sad little echo chambers of the tabloids and fanzines, and are trying to weave football "current affairs" into their presentation. You aren't moving a story on for goodness sake, you're describing a live event in its own right. Of course, some recent events can be relevant to what is taking place, but it goes well beyond that far too often these days.

  • Comment number 35.

    "[Motty's] excitement for the game, his knowledge of relevant and, just as importantly, irrelevant facts just steal it for me."
    I have grown to really dislike the guy, but you can't deny that he is a fan at heart. Others - specifically Alan Green (and to a lesser extent Lawro who is more of the relief than the commentator i guess) - don't seem to be fans of football, they just love to complain about EVERYTHING.

    I especially hate it when they report how boring a game is, yet they're being PAID to watch it, and report on it to fans who just WISH they could get there.

    Sigh, rant over.

  • Comment number 36.


    "it was obvious"

    Well, as you are wrong, maybe you should look up "obvious" in a dictionary?

    Can't be bothered to go into my credentials, but I am also aware of the MOTD commentary situation and Steve is one-hundred percent right: all commentary is done live. If you think different, provide proof. Note: as none exists, try not to waste too much time.

    Cue people who know nothing talking twaddle again...

  • Comment number 37.

    At 07:31 24th Nov 2011, dogeared wrote:
    F.A. Cup 4th round. United missed a bag of chances for 89 minutes and Andy Gray kept repeating this is Liverpools day. Cole & Solskjær with another vital injury time winner. Classic. Thanks Andy Gray.

  • Comment number 38.

    #20 Good job on entirely missing the point. I don't see how the author is complaining at all; he's merely providing a little insight into his work, and doing so in an entertaining way. How about you don't take yourself so seriously and lighten up a bit?

  • Comment number 39.

    #35 GenesisRed

    "[Motty's] excitement for the game, his knowledge of relevant and, just as importantly, irrelevant facts just steal it for me."
    I have grown to really dislike the guy, but you can't deny that he is a fan at heart.
    Yes, I think the 'fan' comment hits the nail on the head. There is something old skool about him that appeals.

    I think you're right about Alan Green as well. For someone who has probably never kicked a ball in his life, he is such a 'know it all', 'been there done that' merchant. Worse still is that he is on the radio so we are more reliant on him telling us what's going on but he's too busy prattling away about nonsense!

    But, as TheTrawler says at #34, I wish they would just stick to talking about the live event.

  • Comment number 40.

    @36 SoxSexSax "all commentary is done live"
    It would be hugely disingenious if it wasn't, but are you going to tell me that no revisionist commentary is added after the event? If not, the commentators should be given awards (and tests) for their predictive abilities...

  • Comment number 41.

    Alan Green is woeful!! He should be on TalkSport.

    Still feel for analysis Dion Dublin is very underrated.

    My personal commentary highlight was Ray Wilkins acting like he was a Spud on FanZone when they played Real last year. He couldn't have been more biased if he'd started singing "When The Spurs Go Marching In" with the fans!

  • Comment number 42.

    36 ooh get you big boy. listen pal, get yourself a copy of the game and listen to the contrived load of old nonsense that is presented as a supposedly live real time description as the thing unfolded. and btw if that is live then Pearce should be sacked anyway for bias and incompetence. and as for your credentials, I imagine they're very very small, either that if you've got a very gravelly voice and some impressive gel inserts.

  • Comment number 43.

    Personally, I never thought it was a goal. Watching it live, the way it bounced back across behind the goal, the sound it made when it hit the stanchion and the complete lack of reaction from the players were all giveaways that it hadn't gone in. As if that wasn't enough, the ball boy also caught the ball a couple of seconds afterwards. Even before some fans started cheering, you could hear the ones who knew it had missed let out a groan. On instinct it just felt wrong because so many things didn't happen that would have happened if it had gone in.

    That said, I was watching it with a friend who thought it was a goal, but I think that was as much to do with the fact that Tyler suggested it was. I got the impression that Tyler really didn't know but he felt like he should say something and he went off the reaction of the cheering fans. He sort of hopefully suggested it was a goal. I thought Steve's reaction on MOTD was much more instinctive, which testifies to the commentary actually being done live. He initially sounded like he actually thought it went in and he realised much quicker than Tyler that it hadn't.

  • Comment number 44.

    40 a game lasts for 90 minutes (no really) and during down time they talk of replays of earlier events. some of these are basically stitched in to the highlight package. it's the most contrived load of old nonsense, it really is. you can often tell by the tone of voice and SFX changes.

  • Comment number 45.

    Can I comment on here about ITV commentators.

    Clive Tyldsley. Seems to think he is a mix of the drollery of Jack Dee, the Poet Laureate or going for the Pulitzer prize and the smart remark. ' His profession is left back '. No it isn't his profession is footballer his position is left back.

    Peter Drury. Never stops talking. About anything. A lexicon of trivial statistics and memorobilia. ' The last time X played Y and won a Z and Uncle Tom Cobley scored, was back in......' . Yawn !

    Jim Beglin. One time journeyman footballer and now a so-called match analyst whose main contribution is to tell the viewer what we have already just seen and tell us ' he could and should have done better '. Absolutely no analysis of match or team tactics. The master of the blindingly obvious.

    As for this blog - so you thought it was a goal and it wasn't - So what ?

    As Sgt Joe Friday used to say, ' I just want the facts mam '. Not your purple prose.

  • Comment number 46.

    44, that explains a lot.

    I don't think most people have really thought that the commentators don't go to the ground. It would be a very sad state of affairs if all the complaints they make about the cold, the poor food, the position they are sat in where all lies to build the impression. It makes sense that the replays and recordings would be done in situ rather than back at HQ as the logistics just don't add up.

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 Revelation

    I just want the facts mam
    I instantly think of Dan Ackroyd being told how Abel Muss is a 'puss bucket' etc etc and laugh out loud!

  • Comment number 48.

    I actually make an effort not to watch football if it's on ITV! Absolutely terrible commentary.

    And the bias to the English teams in CL matches is cringeworthy.

    Then again I suppose they have to otherwise the FA may take away your TV rights ;-)

  • Comment number 49.

    7. At 07:54 24th Nov 2011, onenessuk wrote:

    Very surprised the commentators thought it was a goal when Drogba didn't even celebrate. Odd.
    Because they watch the ball for their commentary, rather than basing it on players reactions. I bet you would call dozens more fouls than the ref with your technique.

  • Comment number 50.

    "Because they watch the ball for their commentary, rather than basing it on players reactions. I bet you would call dozens more fouls than the ref with your technique."

    Ah, so they only look at half the picture...

  • Comment number 51.

    #49 HarrysDisciple - 606 SOS

    Because they watch the ball for their commentary, rather than basing it on players reactions. I bet you would call dozens more fouls than the ref with your technique.
    Not sure where we're going here, but, if the commentator is there, then they see everything even if some is in peripheral vision. It is only on TV that you can't see everything because of being at the whim of what the producer shows.

  • Comment number 52.

    I have actually seen a couple of satellite feeds and the commentary is done live. At half time the director does ask for an extra phrase or a correction of grammar to be spoken to assist with the editing of highlights.

    The good news is that even John Motson goes quiet when he realises the passage of play will never make the final cut. :-)

  • Comment number 53.

    BlueBurns/Genesis - the point is poster #7 suggested he should have known it wasn't a goal by Drogba's reaction. I am simply saying that the commentator doesn't watch the player to decide whether a shot or pass is successful, his instant recation would be mainly based on where the ball goes.

  • Comment number 54.

    Steve, you might like to spare a thought for Norman May, classic commentator on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). While doing the live commentary for the 1972 Olpympics, Opening Parade he came out with this classic: "And here comes Sri...Sri..Sri Lanka. That must be West German for Ceylon."

  • Comment number 55.

    @20 - Oh dear. Bitter much about your menial job and lack of aspirations that you feel the need to vent your bile at someone trying to write a jovial blog on, admittedly, a rather frivolous topic.

    Don’t read it if you are so clearly offended by it.

    Oh, and use a spell-checker. Maybe if you used one you could start writing your own blog and one day take over from Steve Wilson.

  • Comment number 56.

    This article was a bit of let down. To dedicate an article to justifying your mistake comes across as a shade vain...

    I think anyone who watches sport would appreciate that it's commonplace for fan or commentator alike to make a mistake in judgement during live action.

    A more interesting read would have been the top ten commentating howlers over the years. I suspect they would be dominated by Murray Walker - that's part of the reason people loved him!

  • Comment number 57.

    Nice blog on a topical issue. I watched the game live on tv and there was definite confusion over whether the ball had gone in. My gut reaction was that it had gone past the post rather than in but as the ball nestled seemingly in the back of the net, Jon Champion called it as a goal, the score in the top left ticked over to say 1-0, and the Chelsea fans went mad.

    It then took a good few seconds to realise from the reactions of the Liverpool and Chelsea players that it hadn't gone in. At this point the commentator then corrected himself, although he should have made an apology for saying something along the lines of "reina at fault, he didn't even move!".

  • Comment number 58.

    Well, if you watched Chelsea on ITV last night you'll have heard one of their esteemed commentators put his foot in it when announcing the appearance of Alex as substitute.........

  • Comment number 59.

    Found this article disappointing and there must be many other things that deserve writing about more than if a MOTD commentator is at a game. Sadly there is 2 or 3 commentators who are that awful that I would sooner somebody better did a voiceover from a studio for the highlights or we had no commentary at all. Overall the standard is not bad but some just show no enthusiasm or knowledge of the game.

  • Comment number 60.

    And then there was Whispering Ted Low who said (supposedly live on "Pot Black"): "Fred Davis, too old to get his leg over prefers to use his left hand."

  • Comment number 61.

    I regularly listen to live radio broadcasts of games where I am present and Alan Green and co are always 8/9 seconds behind the live action giving them time to see how things pan out. The delay is longer than radio frequencies would explain - in any case I am using a digital radio.

  • Comment number 62.

    To be honest I don't really care if it is done live or not!! Perhaps it would be better if it wasn't to save on costs!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 roguegrafix

    If we're going down that road then surely 'the bowler's Holding the batsmans Willey' is close to being king?

  • Comment number 64.

    Best one for me was a leg of the Tour de France on Ch4 live on air when the commentators behind the finishing line tried to ask the Scottish cyclist, Robert Millar whether he had anything to say to the camera's. Millar said 'Yes Fxxx Off' at which point the presenters collapsed in laughter.

  • Comment number 65.

    Rhodriguez wrote:
    " Then one of the 10 million unemployed we have in Britain right now could take over your Blog?"

    10 MILLION?! I'm not sure where you get your figures, but that would be around 1/6 of the population, or 16.67%. There are currently around 2.63m unemployed in the UK. I can only assume you're a Labour supporter trying to make things look worse than they are!

  • Comment number 66.

    Or when the great Jim Mclean of Dundee Utd was irked by the comments of the BBC interviewer after a match who asked if the result made him want to resign. To be watched on Youtube if you want to know the rest but fair to say that wee jum resigned as manager shortly after.

  • Comment number 67.

    #64 Rob04

    I think there was a match at Euro 96 where the commentary went something along the lines of 'And the Germans are dominating this. K u n t z'. This is was Motson and Brooking.

    (p.s. I had to put spaces cause the site thought it was a swear word! Bit off for old Stefan!)

  • Comment number 68.

    I suspect they might have toyed with the idea of pronouncing it k(oo)ntz!!

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 Rob04

    Oh, it was said in a way such that the play on words was there for all to hear.


  • Comment number 70.

    Best example I can remember was Gerry McNee commentating on an old-firm derby back in the 90's. Rangers scored an "equalizer" about 20 minutes into the game, but the referee disallowed it for a foul.
    The TV company and commentators were too busy drooling over the replay of the goal and nnew excitement of the match, that they failed to spot the referee's decision or that the match restarted with a free kick in the penalty box rather than a kick-off at the centre spot.
    Eventually, after about 10 minutes of McNee and co lauding the goal and agreeing that it was merited, the cameraman zoomed in on the giant scoreboard which had resolutely continued to display the 1-0 scoreline. There was a 20 second silence followed by a very sheepish Gerry McNee apologising to the viewers.

  • Comment number 71.

    Most annoying thing with commentators is the John Motson habit of trying to seem clever by "predicting" that a substitution will be made, when he has clearly already seen the sub warming up and/or the numbers board.
    But we still love him at Hereford for his very first commentary in that game with Newcastle. "What a goal - what a goal!"
    Incidentally - does there exist any film of the Newcastle v Hereford 2-2 game at St James' Park. Many people forget that the game at Hereford was a third round replay, because it was played on 4th round day after multiple postponements. Apparently the first game was brilliant too.

  • Comment number 72.

    52 yeah but they are not necessarily 'extra' when the edit is complete, sometimes they are 'alternative'. as i said earlier, i've got no problem as long as the commentary is accurate or at least well balanced. the problem with the commentaries these days is that they're either 'moving on' their stories (or the general media narrative) or they're desperately trying to not offend sections of their idiotic audiences - ie Andy Gray apologising before he tells us that the referee was right to award Man Utd a penalty, FK, corner, throw-in etc. or Clive Tydlesley beginning a commentary by saying hello to all those who don't want Man United to win the match.

  • Comment number 73.

    @63 Yes a good one but I actually prefer (and I believe it was by the same commentator) : "And he's just managed to get his leg over" referring to a disputed stumping.

  • Comment number 74.

    I understand what people are saying as sometimes the Commentary doesn't always ring true on MOTD and feels a little contrived. I have heard however that commentaries are 'cleaned-up' and there is nothing wrong with that at all and is the accepted/expected protocol in all other area's of pre-recorded Media.

    I must say I love listening to football on the radio, it heightens the sense of anticipation and has me on the edge of my seat like no other medium.

    Overall well done and keep up the good work, you can please some people some of the time, but you can't please everyone all of the time.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think I said "is that in?", so wasn't too surprised when it turned out to have missed. However, I make mistakes when watching football all the time, so there's no complaints from me regarding commentators making mistakes. More often than not they do a really great job, and frankly I really miss their input when I (can afford to) go to the games.

    I also only recently discovered that MOTD do actually send commentators out to all matches. Remarkable really - maybe even a bit of a waste of money. I wouldn't mind the commentary being put on afterwards.

  • Comment number 76.

    Good work Steve, enjoyable insight.
    Will always be a highlight of live action when one set of fans 'think' they've scored.
    Too many pundits on the payroll though, sport is certainly guilty too.

  • Comment number 77.

    England v Romainia World 1998 - Michael Owen scores to make it 1-1 and old Kevin Keegan comes out with "theres only one team thats gonna win this now - England!!" 2 mins later Dan Petrescu shoves Graeme Le Socks out the way and England lose 2-1, classic commentators curse lol

  • Comment number 78.

    So in this time when we are all broke you are telling me the BBC sends reporters to each and every game in the country, every weekend! To be honest I was much happied thinking you did just add all the commentry from a studio as that makes financial sense. After the total lunacy of your WC coverage I thought you might have toned it down but hey when it's all free to you guys, why not? I notice, from viewing other broadcasters that not 1 other broadcaster built an £8m studio for just 4 weeks of coverage!! That not one other broadcaster had 4-5 pun.. (sorry, jobs for the boys)... dits! Who doesn't either just fast forward these ex pro's telling me about what I've just watched! or go have a tea while they whitter on. I mean why doesn't Eastenders stick in 5 min break where Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp talk us through the "action" of the first half?

    As always the BBC proves once again it has too much money to know what to do with. So much so that it requires its reporters to write blogs to demonstrate how effective the BBC is at spending money! It beggers belief. Slash the funding in half and you might get an organisation that is fit for purpose.

  • Comment number 79.


    I think McNee trumped that in his one of his columns for a now defunct Sunday newspaper.

    He was whinging - what a surprise(!) - about the commentary on 5 Live. His complaint? That he started listening to a match in progress and the commentators didn't read out the score for 5 minutes.

    Aye maybe, Gerry, but at least they got it right when they did!

  • Comment number 80.

    Nice gentle Steve.

    I was there on sunday and no I didn't think it was a goal but I can understand those who did and of course your good self included.

    The mind plays tricks, your maybe wanting it or expecting it and ocassionally you call it, even though it never happened.

    I do think commentators in general do a good job, obviously some are better than others and personal taste comes into it.

    I always thought Johnathan Pearce, was one of the best radio commentators, when he was at Capital Radio. When he moved onto TV, I thought it took him some time to adjust because he commentated like there was no picture. He illustrated the game as would be normal for radio but TV, nope. Now he has grown into the job and is excellent.

    One thing I've never understood is, how on ocassions commentators don't go overboard, with a 'did you see that' or a simple 'yes'. I know, it's called professionalism but Steve, let yourself go once in a while.

  • Comment number 81.

    I cant imagine its the majority who think youre not commentating live Steve, it must be a very small number of people. I've seen commentators first hand at these games. Slightly away from that though. I'm loving the BBC Live text commentary - even more than radio commentary. Means you can watch TV without getting distracted and keep an eye on the game. Plus you get fans chipping in on twitter. One of the few good things to have come out of my license fee....

  • Comment number 82.

    #77 - Poor Keegan has history on that one. When Brian Moore asked him if David Batty was going to score his penalty against Argentina in 1998, Keegan replied emphatically "YES"....the rest, as they say, is history lol.

  • Comment number 83.

    like the blog... not preachy

    not sure how much legs its got though... is a commentators job really that interesting that we can expect a decent tale every week for the forseable future?

    well the proof of the pudding will be in the eating and we shall of course find out.

    untill then i enjoyed the blog, thank you

  • Comment number 84.

    Hi Steve. I used to work at the BBC and was told that commentary shown on MOTD highlights WAS recorded AFTER the match. But the commentator is reacting for the first time. So, it's sort-of fine.

    Is that not the case?

  • Comment number 85.

    #84 Bobbyman

    I think last week's blog stated that pre-2003, not all commentaries were live. So, if your 'used to work at the BBC' was back then.....

  • Comment number 86.


    Good point... I Await Bobbymans response

  • Comment number 87.

    @ #30 UKRALPH

    Tyldsley is terrible. He is so arrogant it is nauseating. I believe he honestly thinks that his self proclaimed adjectives are going to become part of the nation's dictionary.

    "instant control" is something he says far too often.

    In the 1999 Champions League Final he epitomised what is eternally biased coverage of Man Utd. Basler places a brilliant free kick in the bottom corner. Tydlsley's commentary whent something like "deflected, and in"

    It was almost as if he thought the only way Peter Schmiechel could be beaten from a free kick was if it was deflected. It was embarrasing as cearly there were no deviations of the ball or any sign that it took a deflection. It still grates on me 12 years later

  • Comment number 88.

    Remember Colemanballs ? David Coleman.

    Many years ago commentating on an Olympic middle distance race final, when a particular runner made a break on the last lap with about 250 yards to go,
    DC ' he's made a break, there's no turning back now '!

  • Comment number 89.

    I tried to work out whether I care if the MOTD commentary is live or not..and I don't. It has no impact on my life whatsoever. I thought the Chelsea performance was poor, rather than unlucky last night, we defended better than against Liverpool, but we made plenty of silly mistakes. Even at 1-0 I was thinking a more attacking team would have punished us. In the end the Leverkusen manager adjusted his formation to be more attacking and we paid the price, he tactically out-thought AVB, who doesn't seem to have a plan B just yet. He needs time, but he needs to get back to basics and stop us leaking goals.

  • Comment number 90.

    oh plus the commentators reiterating over and over and over again that in all of the 5 clean sheets Chelsea have managed this season, Alex has played - this true, but then so has John Terry & Petr Cech...the problem is they've also played in the games we've conceded goals. Well Alex came on last night & failed to win the header that scored the winning goal for Bayern. So much for that stat. Be nice to come armed with a few more stats and facts & make the commentray a bit less repetitive.

  • Comment number 91.

    I wish the commentators would put their "curse" to better effect. Could I request you slate Chelsea's defensive record and Torres' scoring one please, it might actually mean we play well for once!

  • Comment number 92.

    The commentary on highlights has to be 'fixed' otherwise when the edit was done we might hear Motty saying something like "that was a really bad foul by the referee" etc...
    What annoys me is why on highlights on MOTD do we see players trudging off at half-time or the camera focusing on fans looking nervous/angry/sad in the crowd?

  • Comment number 93.

    Here's a novel idea:

    Most TV's come with a remote, thus if don't like the commentary use the volume button on the remote and turn the volume off.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 94.

    I was at Everton vs Middlesbrough in the 05/06 season. We'd had a habit of taking short corners which just fizzled out into nothing. Andy van der Meyde (remember him? No?) put the ball down and seeing what he was going to do, I yelled "For ***** sake, don't play it short!" He did, received it straight back, whipped it in and James Beattie arrived at the near post to smash in a great header for 1-0. Pretty much the entire row in front of me turned round and laughed at me, as did my mate sat next to me. My face was almost as red as the Boro shirt. Writing this has given me fond memories of the stellar talent we have had at Goodison over the years.....

  • Comment number 95.

    Although commentators might be there live, but there's sizeable redubbing done later on, surely. Case in point - the MOTD2 pre-match cartoon's happen to tie with a commentator's intro. Replay's of incidents that were actually broadcast some time after the event during Sky or ESPN' slive transmission are a bit of a give away as well.

    Jonathan Pearce is terrible for this. It almost seems like a need to commentate for what a viewer should be aware of at 10.30pm on a Saturday night rather than an as-live experience. If there's a particular controversy that has developed post-match, I can see the need for the highlights commentary to refer to that even if it wasn't obvious at the time. Blackburn's corner at Wigan for example. There are some blatantly scripted edits on occasion though.

    Could be worse, could be Sportscene in Scotland. The first highlight could be in the 89th minute, and the 'as-live' commentary would happen to mention each player involved in first and second name form, along with every other statistic that a commentator would wheel out the first time that player touched the ball around 88 minutes previously. BBC Scotland, even down to the live text on this website, is utterly amateurish compared to the English coverage.

  • Comment number 96.

    #95 Richey

    BBC Scotland, even down to the live text on this website, is utterly amateurish compared to the English coverage.
    Fitting, given what it is covering? ;-)

  • Comment number 97.

    I've never doubted whether the BBC send commentators to the games at all, and that they commentate on the whole game...

    What concerns me is that local radio is at risk of cut backs, and local radio does a lot for local football - yet you're wasting hours of commentary every single week in the premier league

  • Comment number 98.

    What's that expression "the camera never lies" it might not lie but your eyes can play tricks on you.This is where freeze frame and Sky Plus comes into it's own.We have models that are airbrushed we also have people who EDIT.Everybodies opinion is valid whether they went to a game or not.You can still miss things at a game everyone stood up near me when we thought Drogba had scored.There is a tendancy to over analyse a game.On the whole the football commentaries are good still nothing beats being at a game.Commentators like officials are only human but without Mr Angry from Anglesey what we going to talk about oh perhaps the penalty Drogba should have got against Bayern Leverkusen!

  • Comment number 99.

    Fairly sure Martin Tyler made the same mistake on Sky. I wasn't sure either but I didn't think it had gone in. Drogba's reaction suggested otherwise as well. Pretty easy to get it wrong in the heat of the moment though.

  • Comment number 100.

    #95 Richey
    "Could be worse, could be Sportscene in Scotland. The first highlight could be in the 89th minute, and the 'as-live' commentary would happen to mention each player involved in first and second name form, along with every other statistic that a commentator would wheel out the first time that player touched the ball around 88 minutes previously."
    So, um, essentially you're complaining about them doing their job properly?

    "BBC Scotland, even down to the live text on this website, is utterly amateurish compared to the English coverage."

    Total guff. Give me Sportscene over Match of the Day any time.


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